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Folklaw: 25 May 2007

Folklaw: 25 May 2007

Chinese grandad wants justiceIn an inspirational story from China, an 87-year-old grandfather has begun studying law after being disappointed by the quality of his own lawyer’s performance.Wang…

Chinese grandad wants justice

In an inspirational story from China, an 87-year-old grandfather has begun studying law after being disappointed by the quality of his own lawyer’s performance.

Wang Jianbang, of Zhengzhou city in Henan province, has been given free tuition by the Zhengzhou Justice training school, the Zhengzhou Evening News reported.

Wang decided to return to school after his lawyer wasted years of his life and a stack of money on a bungled lawsuit.

“I was in a lawsuit for two years concerning my apartment, and suffered a lot for my lack of knowledge,” the man was reported as saying. “The case lasted two years, which wasted a lot of my time and money. Since I am still able, I want to become a lawyer.”

Explaining the decision to give Wang a free education, the president of the school, Sun Jiwen, said: “We were touched by his spirit. He is the most senior student we have had and we want to help him realise his dream”.

Chinese man mines coal from backyard

Police in Beijing have arrested a man who rented a house near a mine and dug a connecting tunnel from his garage in order to extract coal.

Beijing police were conducting a hunt for illegal migrants when they came across the man’s house and heard the all-to-suspicious sounds of heavy industry, the Beijing Times reported.

“We heard loud factory machine noises from the house,” a police spokesman said. “Upon entering the yard, we found a lot of coal-mining tools, and several huge piles of coal.”

Through the garage floor, the man had dug a 100-metre-long tunnel to the abandoned mine, which he had used to extract some 1300 tonnes of coal, the paper said. But sadly for the part-time miner, he has no mining licence, and has been taken to court.

Judges revolt against blog review

A blog in the US that allows people to review a judge’s performance has enraged the bench.

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, lawyer Bill Gelin and others launched the Justice Advocacy Association of Broward Blog in order to level criticism against the judges hearing their cases. One post on the blog, under the name of defence lawyer Sean Conway, labelled Broward Circuit Judge Cheryl Aleman an “evil, unfair witch”, along with casting doubt over her sanity and knowledge of the law, the news service said.

Conway was promptly served with an ethics grievance, and hired fellow lawyer Fred Haddard to represent him.

“I certainly have the right to call the President of the United States a moron, or the former governor stupid, or the entire House of Representatives buffoons, and that is fully protected,” Haddad said.

“I can’t believe that one is going to have a lawyer censured for criticising a judge. These people were appointed to the bench, not anointed to an office. They’re not cardinals.”

But not all judges in the area are against the blog — some believe it will promote constructive criticism.

“Very rarely will people say [to a judge] ‘you’re terrible, or you’re this or you’re that’,” circuit judge Jeffrey Levenson said. “It gives me a sense of how can I do a better job.”

US firm advertises for divorce

A law firm has caused an uproar in Chicago after paying for a 20-foot billboard advertisement that shows a buxom woman and muscle-bound man either side of the words “Life’s short. Get a divorce”.

The billboard has been criticised by many sections of the community for encouraging divorce, supported by the fact that it was positioned in the city’s “Viagra Triangle”, where young women allegedly cruise for wealthy older men, ABC News in the US reported.

A representative of the firm responsible for the ad, Fetman, Garland & Associates, said it is not trying to encourage divorce, but just wanted to get noticed.

Partner Corri Fetman, appearing on ABC News to defend the billboard, said: “No one’s going to go outside, see a billboard and say, ‘Oh my god, you know, I’m going home and having a divorce’”.

She went on to add that the advertisement was “supposed to be light-hearted. It’s supposed to be thought provoking, and it’s supposed to not be boring like law firm advertising is. It sends a message; that’s what advertising does. Advertising sends a message and gets your name out there. And we’ve done both.”

Fetman likened the billboard to a motivational book that teaches people to be all they can be in life, before admitting that she had received death threats, along with being labelled “Satan” by anonymous callers.

Gamer arrested over Lara Croft accomplice

A computer nerd in Dukinfield, Greater Manchester, was roughed up by police and held for 13 hours while they searched for a suspected gunman who was allegedly hiding in his house. What they found instead was a life-size model of Lara Croft from the popular Tomb Raider game.

David Williams, aged 42 and owner of a computer game store, had his house raided after police, who had arrived on a routine call, mistook the dummy for a real gunman, The Sun reported.

Williams had earlier called the cops after receiving prank phone calls. But when they arrived, they were frightened by a limited edition Lara Croft statue standing by the window and called for backup. When reinforcements arrived, they burst into Williams’ house, handcuffed him, and held him at gunpoint, the paper reported.

“I can't believe the police could be so stupid,” Williams said. “The back-up cops burst in through the back door and knocked me to the ground. One jabbed a gun in the back of my neck and said: ‘All right, where’s the gun?’”

“I said: ‘I don’t have one’. They weren’t happy and searched the house.” But the search turned up naught.

According to the paper, a police spokesman offered the following reaction and sage advice for those who work in the field of law enforcement: “An officer can never take things at face value”.

Never was a truer word said.

Driving student drinks away fresh licence

A young Bulgarian woman who was celebrating gaining her new driver’s licence with her instructor lost it after drink driving only three hours later.

Kristina Andreeva, 23, had promised her instructor a celebratory drink if she passed her licence test, which she honoured in a nearby café, Sofia news agency novinite.com reported.

“I had promised to buy him a drink if I got my licence and we went to a café, had a couple of wines and then offered to drive him home,” Andreeva said. “I was so happy I just didn’t think about the drink drive rules.”

But on the way home the freshly licenced driver was pulled over for dangerous driving, and a breath test recorded her at three times the legal limit.

Andreeva’s licence was cancelled, and so too was that of her instructor.

Triple amputee too fast for police

For the second time, a man without arms and missing one leg has proved too fast for police, evading them in a high-speed chase.

Michael Wiley, 40, from New Port Richey in Florida is known as a serial traffic offender, the St Petersburg Times reported.

Wiley overcame adversity by teaching himself to drive following his extensive amputations. But when police approached his vehicle in Miami, he sped away, leading the authorities on a tense chase before disappearing.

A warrant is now out for the man’s arrest, who previously evaded police capture after a 120mph (193km/h) jaunt down Interstate 75 in 1998.

Described by the paper as a long-time acquaintance, Lee Michie was quoted as saying Wiley is “one of the best drivers I’ve ever seen in my life … but he’s the worst person I’ve ever met”.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Folklaw: 25 May 2007
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